Clean boat seats

How to Get Mold Off Boat Seats? Remove Mildew from Vinyl Boat Seats

Mold and mildew can be a nuisance on boats, especially in humid environments. The moist conditions allow mold and mildew to thrive, and boat seats can be a prime target. Vinyl boat seats in particular are prone to mildew buildup, which can be unsightly and potentially damaging over time. Fortunately, there are several methods to effectively remove mold and mildew from vinyl boat seats.

1. Airlock™ Boat Air Purifier Boat Air Purifier - Best to Remove Mildew from Boat Seats

One innovative approach to reducing mold and mildew growth on vinyl boat seats (and anywhere else in your boat) is by using an air purifier like the Airlock™ Boat Air Purifier system. It is engineered specifically for boats and attacks mold, mildew, and odors at the source – in the air.

Airlock™ Boat Air Purifier uses advanced ionization technology to actively purify the air. It produces and evenly disperses millions of negative ions throughout the boat. These ions target airborne mold spores, allergens, odors, and other impurities. As these particles become ionized, they clump together and fall out of the air into the boat's bilge to be pumped out.

This prevents mold spores from settling and growing on surfaces like vinyl seats. It also neutralizes odors at the source rather than masking them. Airlock™ Boat Air Purifier units connect to a boat's existing A/C system for seamless operation. It provides whole-boat air purification with zero filters, upkeep, or refills required.

Regular use of Airlock™ Boat Air Purifier reduces airborne mold to help keep vinyl seats free of stubborn mildew stains and odors. It provides preventative protection versus spot treatments after growth has occurred. This innovative boat air purifier solution is quick, and easy, and provides guaranteed mold protection.

2. Baking Soda and Water Paste

One of the simplest ways to remove mold and mildew from vinyl boat seats is to make a paste using baking soda and water. Here's how:

  • Mix 1 cup of baking soda and 1/4 cup of water in a bowl until it forms a thick paste. Add more baking soda or water as needed to get the right consistency.
  • Using a soft cloth, apply and gently scrub the paste onto the affected areas of the vinyl seats.
  • Let the paste sit for at least 15 minutes to lift and absorb the mold and mildew.
  • Wipe clean with a damp cloth.

The abrasiveness of the baking soda combined with the moisture helps break down the mold and mildew while lifting it from the surface of the vinyl. This method is cheap, straightforward, and effective for light mildew buildup.

3. Vinegar Solution

Distilled white vinegar is a natural cleaner and mold/mildew killer. To use it on boat seats:

  • Mix 1 part vinegar and 1 part water in a spray bottle.
  • Liberally spray the solution onto the mildewed areas of the vinyl seats.
  • Allow it to soak for 10-15 minutes. This gives the vinegar time to kill mold, break it down, and help release its grip.
  • Wipe clean with a microfiber cloth and rinse with fresh water.

The acetic acid in vinegar provides the mold-fighting power. Rinsing is important to prevent damage to the vinyl over time from prolonged exposure. Doing this regularly can help prevent mold/mildew recurrence.

4. Borax Solution

Similar to baking soda, borax has natural antiseptic and antifungal abilities that make it great for mold removal. To use:

  • Add 1/2 cup of borax and 1/2 cup of water to a spray bottle. Shake vigorously to dissolve and mix.
  • Thoroughly spray the borax solution onto stained or mildewed areas of the vinyl seats.
  • Let it sit for about an hour. The borax will go to work killing mold and mildew.
  • Wipe clean and dry with a microfiber towel.
  • Rinse with fresh water.

The borax solution is very effective at removing stubborn mildew stains and disinfecting the vinyl. Like vinegar, rinsing prevents potential damage from borax residue.

5. Hydrogen Peroxide

As a strong oxidizing agent, hydrogen peroxide is another common household item that can be used to remove mold from boat seats. Here are the steps:

  • Mix a solution of 1 part hydrogen peroxide (3% strength) and 2 parts water.
  • Spray or wipe the solution liberally on moldy spots.
  • Let it bubble and permeate for 10-15 minutes.
  • Wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Hydrogen peroxide will fizz and loosen the mold, also killing mold spores. Be sure to let it sit long enough before wiping. Start with a lower concentration and increase strength as needed.

6. Boat Soap and Water

For minor mildew buildup, sometimes a thorough cleaning with boat soap and water will do the trick:

  • Mix a few squirts of boat soap (like On & Off Hull & Bottom Cleaner) and warm water in a bucket.
  • Use a soft-bristle scrub brush to work the solution into the vinyl.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove all soap residue.
  • Allow seats to air dry fully.

The soap helps cut through the grunge while the scrubbing action frees the mold and mildew from the porous vinyl surface. Thorough rinsing is key to eliminating soap film buildup.

7. Disinfectant Spray

Mold and mildew gradually eat away at vinyl boat seats while also staining them. A store-bought disinfectant spray can help sanitize seats and remove that stubborn staining. Some options are:

  • Lysol Mold & Mildew Remover - kills mold and mildew while eliminating odors
  • Clorox Disinfecting Spray – powerful bleach-based cleaner for disinfecting
  • Star Brite Mildew Stain Remover - a boating-specific spray that removes black streaking

Simply spray the product liberally on affected areas, wait 5-10 minutes, then wipe clean with a dry cloth. The chemicals break down the mold and discoloration. Use cautiously and open hatches for ventilation.


Getting mildew off boat seats is crucial for preserving the upholstery and stitching. While bleach is an effective cleaner, it can degrade vinyl over time. Using bleach-free methods like magic erasers, protective sprays, and gentle scrubbing with soapy water can banish mold without harming cushions. Being proactive about keeping seats clean and dry is key to preventing mildew from taking hold in the first place.

With the right techniques and solutions, you can keep your boat seats fresh and looking new without the need for harsh chemicals. Be vigilant about mold prevention, and act quickly when any spots appear to nip it in the bud. Use Airlock™ Boat Air Purifier as a protectant and remove mildew from boat seats easily.

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